Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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joey4420
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Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby joey4420 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:18 pm

OK, in my search on Barnstormers and other web sites, I have came across multiple aircraft that meet LSA requirements with decent payloads under $70k and a lot under $30k and even some under $20k. Sadly the lower the price the older they are (not that old is bad). I have seen several Kitfox's with 2-Strokes on them for under $15k.

I have done some research on the 2-Strokes with good and bad results on opinions at least. Since this is Sport Pilot Talk and I am just looking right now. I was planning on something much more expensive, but sadly too many deals fell through and my budget has decreased.

Thoughts and or opinions (prefer actually having flown if possible) good or bad 2-Stroke info or even why an older Kitfox would be a bad idea for a fun inexpensive aircraft to enjoy.

I have worked on multiple 2-Stoke snowmobiles and motorcycles over the years, but never had to say this is what will keep me airborne.

Thoughts?
Joey
Cincinnati OH
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Ercoupe N99773

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MrMorden
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby MrMorden » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:34 pm

My buddy has a two-stroke (Rotax 582) in an Avid Flyer. It has been a very reliable airplane. HOWEVER, he is very diligent with maintenance, and overhauls the engine at the factory overhaul time of 300hr, every time. It's not like a four stroke that can zoom right past TBO with little worry...when it's time for overhaul on a two stroke, it's really time.

Also, having done some math...long term a four stroke engine is cheaper. We did the calculations, comparing his 582 with 300hr TBO vs my 912 with 2000hr TBO. Even factoring the new cost of the engines, by 2000 hours the cost of the 582 has surpassed the cost of the 912 because of the short overhaul period. He's building an RV-7 right now, but if he could afford to while also building he'd hang a 912 (80 or 100hp) on that Avid in a heartbeat.

I think you are better off with a good four-stroke engine, even if it means you have to save some money longer before buying. In the long run it will be cheaper.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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joey4420
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby joey4420 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:43 pm

MrMorden wrote:My buddy has a two-stroke (Rotax 582) in an Avid Flyer. It has been a very reliable airplane. HOWEVER, he is very diligent with maintenance, and overhauls the engine at the factory overhaul time of 300hr, every time. It's not like a four stroke that can zoom right past TBO with little worry...when it's time for overhaul on a two stroke, it's really time.

Also, having done some math...long term a four stroke engine is cheaper. We did the calculations, comparing his 582 with 300hr TBO vs my 912 with 2000hr TBO. Even factoring the new cost of the engines, by 2000 hours the cost of the 582 has surpassed the cost of the 912 because of the short overhaul period. He's building an RV-7 right now, but if he could afford to while also building he'd hang a 912 (80 or 100hp) on that Avid in a heartbeat.

I think you are better off with a good four-stroke engine, even if it means you have to save some money longer before buying. In the long run it will be cheaper.



What is the rebuild cost on the 582? The reason I ask is I see a Kitfox III with a 582 less than 50 miles from me for $15k has 200 hours on it always hangered and comes with a trailer to haul the plane. Easily parked at my house so no hanger fees.

Don't get me wrong I can spend more, but for something just to punch holes in the sky and the occasional short cross country, I figured this would be nice.

My preference right now is an Arion Lightning for upper $60k with new 3300 Jabiru in it. But I have read the older models were not the best for student or new pilots and this one I found is a 2007 model. But this also means hanger fees (which I have to find one in my local area), but it will allow me to really take cross countries.
Joey
Cincinnati OH
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Ercoupe N99773

zodiac flyer
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby zodiac flyer » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:00 pm

I have owned an Ercoupe(old) and now own a Zenith Zodiac 601XLB. Both are available in the inexpensive range.
My 601XLB was factory built by AMD, has a Continental O-200 and a Dynon glass panel with Garmin avionics.
I love the old Ercoupe, but having a modern aircraft suits me better. I converted my SLSA 601 to a ELSA pretty painlessly and now possess a
LSA repairman certificate. That means I do my own condition inspections and all maintenance and mods.
If you find a EAB zodiac you can't get the repairman certificate, but it will still be affordable.
Dave N601XP

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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby rcpilot » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:14 pm

+1 on the Zodiac 601. It's an easy plane to fly(I bought mine with the intent of taking lessons), relatively inexpensive to maintain and has a great useful load. My instructor preferred it over the school's Skycatcher.

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MrMorden
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby MrMorden » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:21 pm

IMO trailering an airplane is false economy. Every time you want to fly you have to hook up the trailer, haul it to the airport, and pray some jackass doesn't hit your trailer and destroy your airplane. If you want to go somewhere overnight, or even more than a few hours, you have to make arrangements on where to park your trailer. From what I have seen, most people who trailer their airplanes fly so rarely, they'd be better off as renters.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
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2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

914Driver
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby 914Driver » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:47 pm

I've been doing the same research as Joey but with the proviso that it has to sleep outside as no hangars are available; hence anything cloth winged is off the list. Ercoupes turned my head, still looking at them but a Sonex or Pulsar are higher on the list.

Following this story with interest.


Dan

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joey4420
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby joey4420 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:50 pm

Excellent info so far... and wow I like the looks of the Zodiac 601. And prices are not bad either for used.

As far as parking at the airport, I have several airports near me and one is a huge air ballooning airport, so they have rows of trailers parked there all the time, I am sure they charge a parking fee, but would have to be better than hanger fees.

Either way, I may go look at the kitfox just to get an opinion of one.
Joey
Cincinnati OH
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Ercoupe N99773

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joey4420
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby joey4420 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:51 pm

914Driver wrote:I've been doing the same research as Joey but with the proviso that it has to sleep outside as no hangars are available; hence anything cloth winged is off the list. Ercoupes turned my head, still looking at them but a Sonex or Pulsar are higher on the list.

Following this story with interest.


Dan



That would probably leave out fiberglass as well, unless you wash and wax often and cover during bad weather.
Joey
Cincinnati OH
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Ercoupe N99773

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MrMorden
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby MrMorden » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:26 pm

914Driver wrote:I've been doing the same research as Joey but with the proviso that it has to sleep outside as no hangars are available; hence anything cloth winged is off the list. Ercoupes turned my head, still looking at them but a Sonex or Pulsar are higher on the list.


Just FYI, the Sonex is a great airplane, but all the rivets are pulled/blind rivets. So it has 10,000 holes in the fuselage...In the rain it will leak like a sieve. It really needs a hangar.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

914Driver
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby 914Driver » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:15 am

Rats!

but thank you. =~ )

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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby 3Dreaming » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:23 am

Personally I like the older standard category aircraft, like Taylorcraft and Luscombe. The Luscombe is available in a metal wing version, if you will need to tie down outside. The one downside is, as a sport pilot you cant do preventive maintenance on a standard category aircraft. What ever you choose try and find someone who is familiar with the type do a good pre purchase inspection. Any of these airplanes can have hidden problems that might not be found by someone who doesn't know the type.

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azsportpilot
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby azsportpilot » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:56 pm

3Dreaming wrote:Personally I like the older standard category aircraft, like Taylorcraft and Luscombe. The Luscombe is available in a metal wing version, if you will need to tie down outside. The one downside is, as a sport pilot you cant do preventive maintenance on a standard category aircraft. What ever you choose try and find someone who is familiar with the type do a good pre purchase inspection. Any of these airplanes can have hidden problems that might not be found by someone who doesn't know the type.


Agreed... a "Vintage LSA Compliant" aircraft is a great option. (I went that direction)

here is EAA's list of aircraft that would be in compliance.

https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-com ... ft_listing

However, individual aircraft of a given type may not meet the criteria due to modification by STC or field approval. you would need to check the records of a particular aircraft and verify that it has not been modified in such a way as to disqualify that aircraft.

some are metal wing, some are fabric wing
some are tailwheel, some are nose wheel
some are prop start, some have electric start

the only one that combines metal wings, tricycle gear & electric start is the Ercoupe!
John Sarra CFI-S
1946 Aeronca Chief

-Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we never left one up there!

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joey4420
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby joey4420 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:16 pm

Okay, looking at the Zenith CH601, I see several older ones that are not extremely pricey, but then I research and found the issue about crashes. I am just curious how much of a concern is the crash history on the CH601's seeing as the only thing I could find on the outcome was basically a stiffening of the wing fix.

As far as older aircraft I really like the ERCOUPE, but sadly at 200lbs I could not fly a passenger more than around the airport pattern with the amount of fuel I could carry. Unless of course they were a really small passenger.
Joey
Cincinnati OH
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Ercoupe N99773

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hirschr
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Re: Searching for an inexpensive aircraft

Postby hirschr » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:39 pm

I fly an Ercoupe and love it! I'm 6"1" and a solid 200 lbs - I routinely leave the main tanks 1/2 full so I can carry another passenger my size. Granted mine is an E model with a 1400 lb gross, but even if you have a C or CD that can be flown as a light sport at 1320 lbs you can fly two your size with about 12 gallons of fuel (2+ hours with reserve) if you find a light one (~850) lbs empty weight.


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